Friday, April 25, 2014

friday link love

Finally got around to making a batch of preserved lemons. Lots of good things in here: thai chile, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, cloves, peppercorns, star anise. A Meyer lemon snuck in!

Happy Friday, friends! We’re having a smallish gathering of friends tomorrow, and as such, I’ve become the crazed host hell-bent committed to throwing a lovely, effortless party. Of course, effortless is never a word that should be used honestly when it comes to entertaining. It might be low stress, but if you like to cook and like to entertain, there is, of course effort involved. I’ve always pondered that word, “effortless”, when it came to throwing parties. Why do we want to aspire to effortless? I’ve always liked effort, the word and the intention, and I hope, at the very least, that even if the food is ho-hum, my effort shows.

My list was made; schedule of what to cook and when – drawn up. Easy-peasy, I thought, and of course, probably the moment I thought it, curveballs of all sizes came at me from every direction work-wise and the schedule was abandoned early on. Do you know what not crossing something off a list that’s assigned to a particular day does to someone like me? Complete and utter derailment, folks. Last night, Andrew witnessed what might be the “behind-closed-doors-meltdown” that was resolved all thanks to an awesome, new neighbor heroically saving the day with a 4-pound bag of sugar. Thanks, Amy! I’ll put together the party menu sometime next week, but not before I post a recipe I adapted from the book I wrote with Marc Forgione – due out in a few days! I’m always uncomfortable tooting my own horn, but if you are at all looking to step up your game in the kitchen, I think this book will help you get there. I’m enormously proud and grateful to have been involved in its making and as I leaf through the pages and recall all the hard work everyone put in, I’m even more excited about releasing this nearly 400-page beast baby into the wild. As many people have told me, having a baby was easier than writing a book, and this particular one was a long and uphill road, albeit an extremely satisfying one.

I wish you all a wonderful weekend! Cheers and until next week. xo, olga

PS the picture above is of preserved lemons, which I made earlier this week. I streamlined the recipe a bit and updated it with a few tips in case you’re itching to make your own. I can’t recommend homemade preserved lemons enough – totally worth the 10 minutes you spend making them and 1 month waiting.

Continue reading friday link love.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

pasta with cabbage and pancetta

Pasta with cabbage and pancetta

It was over dinner Saturday night that Franny’s restaurant cookbook came up in conversation. A woman seated next to me asked if the book was any good.

“It’s very good,” I replied.

Then I added, “Full disclosure: I worked on it, but it’s very good independent of that.”

The conversation veered in many directions through the evening – fig trees, writing, what we were eating – but my thoughts stayed with Franny’s cookbook through the night and into Sunday morning. It had been too long since I cooked from it.

I had a head of Savoy cabbage in the crisper that was patiently awaiting its fate. Time had turned its leaves more wilted than its normal veining makes it appear – and more limp, too. But cabbage is a resilient vegetable – a few days past its prime and it’s still in fighting spirit. Soups, stews, roasted wedges, cabbage is a marathon vegetable. I can’t think of a single occasion when a head of cabbage went beyond the ability to be salvaged in my house. On the other hand, I can think of countless bags of spinach I’ve forgotten about and found weeks later, way in the back of the refrigerator, the bag’s contents having liquefied itself to a foul-smelling brown liquid. On some unlucky occasions, the bags leaked and instead just removing the offensive produce, I’d spend the next hour scrubbing the refrigerator shelves.

Continue reading pasta with cabbage and pancetta.

Friday, April 18, 2014

friday link love

This morning run was beautiful. #latergram

Hi friends, happy Friday, Passover, and upcoming Easter. I hope this is a good weekend for you all. We spent some time in Massachusetts with family for Passover and had our fill of brisket. Every year, around this time, I fall hard for matzo with cream cheese or salted butter, only to forget about it as soon as the holiday ends. Much like my apples and honey craze around Rosh Hashanah, this one doesn’t linger much longer past the required time frame. In any case, I’m hopeful that our farmers’ market has more than just tubers this week – spring onions, perhaps?

Wishing you all a beautiful holiday weekend ahead. See you next week! xo

Continue reading friday link love.

Friday, April 11, 2014

friday link love

I don't think this light will ever get old. It's so infrequent it's like a treat each time.

Hi, friends, and happy Friday. We’re off to see our families for Passover and eat lots of matzo smeared with salted butter. I’ve been put in charge of dessert and I’m making a double batch of this cake. I did a test run of it earlier this week, made a few tweaks, and it was deemed a success by the book club, which I hosted this time. Some of you have asked me what we read and how we pick books, and here’s how our book club is structured. We rotate homes and the host makes dinner and picks the next book. And on and on we go. This way, your interests get a fair representation and we get to read books that we otherwise might not pick. Some of them we like, others – not so much. There’ve been highbrow picks like this and this, and lowbrow ones like this one (I won’t even make apologies for it, but I did lose a few braincells in the process). But we read, we get together, eat, discuss. We’ve been at it for over a decade I believe, though I joined about 8 years ago.

In other news, this has been a busy but manageable week (thank you, universe!) and I’m finally getting my brain in order to make real impact with the ice cream book. It feels like spring outside, and I’m looking forward to what our farmers’ market will have next week. I found a lovely yoga studio in our neighborhood and took a couple of classes and now – yowza! – so sore! – but in a good, happy, blissed-out way. I haven’t felt like this in awhile, and it’s wonderful. I’m looking forward to running in the park and yoga – and figuring out how to make time for “wellness”.

And finally, some exciting news, the book that I coauthored with chef Marc Forgione hits bookshelves on April 29! You can pre-order your copy on Amazon or pick up a copy at your local bookstore in a few weeks. I was particularly excited to be included in Saveur magazine’s April’s Books Worth Buying list, sharing the spot with David Lebovitz, whom I’ve deeply respected and admired over the years, and whose latest book has quickly become one of my favorites. David’s post on what goes into creating a book is particularly fantastic as it gets into the nitty-gritty of what it is to write a book. And let me tell you — it’s a process, and then some!

And that’s about all! I hope you have a relaxing, beautiful weekend ahead. xo, olga

Continue reading friday link love.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

pickled carrot sticks

pickled carrots sticks

Back in our old apartment, before the move, before the kitchen excavation, our fridge was always full to the gills, except most of if its contents were myriad jars of preserved and pickled things are various stages of fermentation. There was always two jars of kimchi (newly fermented and older), preserved lemons, garlic confit, sauerkraut, quick-pickled onions, a few jams, and jars of anchovies, capers, mustards and the like. When we moved, I had to use up as many of these jars as I possibly could, but inevitably, some of them were thrown out, much to my chagrin.

Then, for several months, while our kitchen was a construction site, it was pointless to have jars of any kind because we didn’t have a kitchen. If we had to make our coffee in the bathroom, there wasn’t much room for preserved goods. Besides, at the time, our refrigerator lived in the dining room.

Continue reading pickled carrot sticks.

Monday, April 7, 2014

tangerine champagne sorbet

tangerine champagne sorbet

I might have just figured out a loophole in this whole no-drinking-on-the-job thing. Suppose it’s a weekday, mid-afternoon, and you need a bit of a pick-me-up. You might be working in an office somewhere or, like me, at home. But unless your job is to review cocktails and spirits, it’s unlikely that you’re going to fix yourself a drink midday. Life, for better or worse, isn’t an episode on Mad Men, and if it were, you’d probably be drinking whiskey or vodka straight or on the rocks.

But, what if someone handed you sorbet with the same ingredients that go into a mimosa? You’d have it, and no one would ever even think ill of you.

You have David Lebovitz to thank for that. I’m just a humble messenger.

Continue reading tangerine champagne sorbet.